Public servants to abstain serving at ballot boxes in fear of investigation – opposition

An opposition party official claimed on Wednesday that public servants will abstain from serving at ballot boxes in the upcoming Istanbul mayoral re-run election after the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) annulled the March 31 poll results due to alleged irregularities related to polling officials, Fox TV reported on Wednesday.

“We think that the number of state employees who do not want to take on duty at ballot boxes [in the coming Istanbul re-run poll] will increase, due to [YSK’s] invalidation [of the March 31 Istanbul mayoral election] and the related stains [on polling officials],” said Zehra Aylin Ozgul, YSK representative of the opposition Good Party (IYI).

Turkey’s March 31 local government election wrestled Istanbul from the control of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for the first time in a quarter of a century.

Ekrem Imamoglu, from the main secularist opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), defeated AKP’s Binali Yildirim, a former Turkish prime minister.

The YSK, however, yielded to an extraordinary objection filed by the AKP, which demanded that the March 31 Istanbul mayoral election results be annulled and that the poll be held again.

The council stated as the legal basis for accepting the AKP appeal that 3,755 polling officials were not public servants, contrary to the law. The AKP had claimed wide-spread voting irregularities in Istanbul.

Before the YSK ruling, the Istanbul Anatolian Prosecutorship Office had launched 32 different investigations into the alleged electoral irregularities in the vote for Istanbul mayorship, at the request of the ruling AKP and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Prosecutors called more than 100 polling station workers in for questioning as suspects. The investigations focused on claims that a significant number of ballot box officials had been illegally appointed since they were not public servants.

At the time, the CHP seniors claimed the investigations had been staged to support the YSK’s final decision on the results from the March poll re-run in Istanbul.

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